Laurenda Eddy is a budding leader in a U.S.-based network marketing cosmetics company that’s expanding internationally. Before network marketing, Laurenda was a shy and anxiety-ridden young girl. Today she is becoming a confident business woman who is passionate about helping others grow their self-esteem, stand in their power, and achieve greater freedom.—J.G.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as an only child, Laurenda was raised by her father in a low-income part of town. “My dad did home repairs and we got by,” she says. “I didn’t realize I was poor until I started going to friends’ houses and seeing what they had. It never really bothered me until I got older.”

Growing up, Laurenda struggled to find her place in society. She started working her first job in corporate America when she was 15 years old.

“I became a job hopper,” she says, “often quitting over trivial things that irritated me. After 25 jobs or so, I realized something had to change. I was now an adult and needed to have a consistent income. After all, my bills were consistent.”

Laurenda eventually found a job she liked, even though it required her to work 14-hour days, five to six days a week. As an armored guard for a security company she had her own route and more independence than in any prior jobs, yet she knew she wanted more out of life. As time went on, her workload increased, but the harder she worked and the better she performed, the more responsibility she was given—at no extra pay. She knew there had to be something better out there.

Towards the end of 2014, a girl named Megan Dashley reached out to Laurenda on Facebook, sharing a cosmetics product. Laurenda tried it and fell in love. Shortly thereafter, Megan followed up and invited Laurenda to join her company, assuring her that there was no obligation to work the business if she didn’t want to. “All I saw was a good deal on the kit,” says Laurenda, “so I went for it.”

Watching Megan grow her business and seeing how much it was changing her life, Laurenda decided to do a little more research on network marketing. When she saw the potential, she decided to take it seriously and dove in head first. “Even in combination with my 75- to 80-hour a week day job, I saw what was possible with this business,” she says. “I made it work between stops, before work, and even after my long double shifts.”

After six months of consistently posting on social media, making new friends, expanding her network, and building her business, Laurenda was able to let go of her job. “Two months after I resigned, I broke the company record,” she says. “I recruited 112 people in July 2015 and my business was really taking off. Luckily, I had an amazing support system with overlapping leadership: my upline and crossline leaders stepped in to help with training and getting my new presenters started strong as I was bringing them in.”

Passionate and driven, Laurenday says she hasn’t taken a single day off since the day she started in 2014. “Even on our company cruise I worked my business in the middle of the ocean on a floating hotel. Consistency is key in this business. Whether you feel like it or not, you must keep going.”

Laurenda learned and teaches that you must hold yourself accountable. “The beauty of this business is that we are our own bosses. And the downfall? We are our own bosses! We have to be self-aware and cognizant of how productive we are. Nobody can tell us what we are worth in this business; we get paid for the work we put in.”

Laurenda admits that being brand new to network marketing can be tough. She believes there is an art to it—how to speak to people, how to expand your network, how to get your opportunity out there without spamming, and so on. “All this takes practice, patience, and trial and error,” she says.

She also believes developing thick skin is a must. “Although this business model isn’t new, it’s just now becoming more widely accepted,” she says. “We have a better way, and my goal is show that to as many people as possible. Residual income means freedom, which is a beautiful thing network marketing can give you, but you have to be able to see the big picture. It takes grit. You have to be resilient, positive, and determined to overcome any obstacles. You will have roadblocks and you will want to give up. You will question whether or not it’s worth it. Yet if you focus on the big vision, you will see that it most definitely is worth every struggle, every bit of stress, and every challenge you had to face.”

Laurenda went through quite a transformation since she got started in her business. “I struggled with anxiety most of my life,” she says. “It’s never been easy for me to meet new people, be in big crowds, or speak in public. Once I dove into the business, I found myself stepping out of my comfort zone more and more, and as a result, I was growing every single day. It started to become an addiction to better myself—not just in my business, but in all aspects of my life. I knew that if little shy, awkward, anxiety-ridden me could come this far and talk to people I’d never met before, do live videos, build a team, and train them, then why couldn’t I do anything I set my mind to? Heck, if I could do this, why couldn’t everyone else?”

When Laurenda signed up with her company, she didn’t have time, money, social skills, or networking experience. Today, less than one year later, she has reached the top of her company’s pay plan and built a team of over 3,000 presenters.

“Without each and everyone one of these people, I wouldn’t be here,” she says. “They all have contributed to my success in some way and I want nothing more than to return the favor and pay it forward. Being a leader is not a title; it’s an action. I make sure to lead by example, day in and day out. I don’t tell my team to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Success in this business is about loving people—reaching down and lifting them up. The role of a leader is to help others see the potential we see in them.”

Laurenda remembers one time being on a panel with five other top leaders in her company. “We were all onstage sitting in high chairs, and someone snapped a photo and sent it to me. The first thing I noticed was that I was slightly hunched over and I was sitting with my foot tucked under my leg. Everyone else had their legs crossed and looked very lady-like. I immediately started criticizing myself. Why couldn’t I sit like a lady for just 30 minutes? Why am I hunched over in front of 300 people? Is that what I really look like?”

Once Laurenda realized what she was doing, she immediately grabbed a hold of herself. She told herself, “Stop it! You are a top leader. You can’t talk or even think like that!” It was a wakeup call.

I am are the two most powerful words in our vocabulary,” she says, “and the words that follow should be chosen wisely. My goal is to help women build confidence and self-esteem. How can I do that if I don’t love myself? Words and thoughts are powerful, so watch them carefully.”

Laurenda sees her business as a gift and that is how she offers it to others. “I know firsthand what it has done for me,” she says, “and that makes me even more passionate about sharing it with others.

“I love what I do. Each morning I jump out of bed excited about what the day will bring. I have my coffee and a little me-time, and then I get to work. First I put on an Audible for some personal development. I love Tony Robbins, Eric Worre, Jordan Adler, Sarah Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki, and many others. As I’m listening, I check messages, emails, and social media accounts. Next I start my daily tasks written out the week (or night) before. This includes posting in online parties, following up with customers and potential recruits, and some sort of activity to help me expand my network even further.”

Laurenda also makes sure to add in a team post and a post or two on her social media sites before noon. Every day she sets aside some time to brainstorm new ideas. In the afternoon, she usually repeats each of these tasks while also running errands or taking care of her home.

“All these things have now become habits,” she says, “and the beauty is, it doesn’t even feel like work! That is how I know I have found my calling. I want that for everyone.

“Time is priceless, and you can never get it back. I used to trade an hour of my life for $15. Thanks to network marketing, I now own my time. I no longer have to answer to anyone, fight traffic to get to my job, and trade 8 to 10 hours a day to make a living. Freedom is the ultimate goal. Whether it is time or financial freedom, we all want more. This business can give you both, if you put in the work now.”